Network to be rebranded as NHS Providers, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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4.33pm The Foundation Trust Network is changing its name to NHS Providers. It will have a strapline of the Association of Foundation Trust and Trusts.

Nick Samuels, director of communications, said: “We decided to make this change, following extensive consultation with FTN members, staff and stakeholders. This revealed there were significant issues with both awareness and understanding of the FTN and that confusion was being caused by a name which did not reflect our entire membership. Important stakeholders did not readily appreciate that we represent both foundation trusts and trusts, nor that the membership comprised all sectors and types of NHS provider – community, mental health, ambulance and acute.

“Our research clearly demonstrated the need and desire for a new name and branding which would both encompass our important heritage and more accurately reflect what the FTN and its members do today. There was also a strong wish to make our NHS connection much stronger. NHS Providers was the selected candidate from a wide-ranging naming exercise and expresses in a simple, direct way the focus of the association. Our new strapline reinforces this point – The Association of Foundation Trusts and Trusts.”

The change will happen on 1 December 2014, when email addresses will change to and the website to

4.23pm In May, HSJ told the story of Mrs Andrews, who, after falling at home, spent seven weeks in hospital and never made it back home.

Ahead of the the main report of theHSJ/Serco Commission on Hospital Care for Frail Older People being published tomorrow, we have produced a new video in which Professor David Oliver discusses what went wrong with Mrs Andrews’ care, and how it should have been different.

Watch the new video here.

4.10pm A doctor who treated the wife of Lord Saatchi was one of 100 cancer specialists who wrote a letter opposing his Medical Innovation Bill, The Times reports.

Lord Saatchi proposed the bill after the death of his wife from a rare ovarian cancer in 2011. He said was “appalled to see the name of Dr Jonathan Ledermann on the list of doctors”.

4.08pm Catching up with today’s health coverage in other publications,The Times reports that more than 1,000 patients a day are blocking NHS hospital blocking beds in NHS hospitals because there is no one to look after them at home.

3.46pm Responding the Foundation Trust Network’s ‘Programme for a Parliament’, NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster said:

“The NHS Confederation worked in partnership with the FTN and other leading health and social care bodies to publish the 2015 ‘Challenge Manifesto’ earlier this year. It is no surprise that this document echoes many of the challenges and solutions put forward in the manifesto. With today’s publication, the FTN adds to the growing consensus that national and local politicians must play their part in transforming the NHS - by creating the political will and the financial context. The service is then ready to implement the changes.

“In the run up to next year’s general election, it is vital that all parts of the system – commissioners, providers, clinicians, health service leaders, politicians and patient representatives - get ready to start on the transformation journey as soon as the new government is returned. Strong commissioning and a plurality of providers will be part of a sustainable future together.”

3.23pm The NHS could be required to achieve ‘zero avoidable harm’ if a government backed bill being driven through Parliament by the MP for Stafford makes it onto the statute books.

The MP’s private members’ bill the Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Bill also aims to establish new rules requiring professional regulators to consider public confidence in fitness to practise decisions.

It would place a duty on organisations to share information and use a common patient identifier, such as the patient’s NHS number, across health and social care.

2.33pm The Foundation Trust Network today launched its ‘Programme for the next Parliament’, setting out what it believes is needed from government, regulators, providers, commissioners and politicians to free and support the NHS to make the changes needed to continue providing excellent patient care.

The four overall key change themes identified in the document are:

  • Invest to transform the NHS into a sustainable 21st century service
  • Support an empowered and affordable NHS workforce with the right skills and in the right numbers
  • Ensure improvement is owned and led by providers underpinned by regulatory assurance that the system is working in the best interests of patients and service users
  • Enable autonomous and accountable NHS providers to drive new models of care in partnership with their local health and care systems

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, said: “At the recent party conferences and in the NHS Five Year Forward View, there was cross-party recognition that the combination of underfunding and rapidly rising demand makes it impossible for the NHS to sustain and improve the quality of care within its existing model. We must transform how we deliver care but are running out of time to make these essential changes. This programme for the next parliament gives our politicians and the NHS system leadership complete clarity on what’s required from day one after the election to enable the NHS to transform to meet 21st century patient needs. 

2.29pm Moorfields Eye Hospital Foundation Trust is to take over the management of a specialist eye cancer service run by Barts Health Trust, including all outpatient work.

The transfer follows a National Peer Review Programme review of Barts’ ocular oncology service. This was commissioned by NHS England in May.

While the review found “no concerns” with the clinical quality of the service, it said improvements could be made in patient care pathways, a spokeswoman for the commissioning body said.

1.47pm The NHS’s only privately run hospital, Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust, could lose core services such as its accident and emergency department despite earlier assurances that franchising the hospital would protect it from such a move.

HSJ has been told independently by two senior local sources that the possibility of turning the trust into an elective hub and downgrading its A&E is being actively discussed by senior NHS leaders in the area.

The discussions are part of a wider programme to reconfigure services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, one of England’s most challenged health economies which faces a £250m deficit by 2018-19.

1.11pm The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has handed its board the role of reviewing and approving deals over £100,000 after admitting a contract tender last year had “left room for perceptions of conflicts of interest”.

Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor revealed the strengthened governance policy as she gave evidence to the Commons public administration committee last week.

Dame Julie was responding to questions about a £120,000 contract that was awarded to her former business associate. This historical association had not been declared by Dame Julie to the panel members who selected the successful contractor.

12.44pm HSJ’s annual pathology conference is about to get under way, with speakers including the head of the government’s NHS procurement review Lord Carter. Follow #hsjpath for updates.

12.03pm The national rate of delayed transfers of care has soared to its highest ever level, threatening the better care fund’s ambition to cut costs by improving the transfer of patients from hospital to other care settings.

HSJ analysis of official figures has revealed a 7 per cent rise in the number of days patients’ discharge from hospitals have been delayed - from 1.4 million over 12 months to September 2013-14 to 1.5 million over the same period to September 2014-15.

This increasing rate has gathered momentum over the past 12 months and follows two years of being broadly flat.

11.49am Surgical procedures for prostate cancer, hernias and cataracts are among a raft of treatments that could be restricted or stopped in one of the country’s most financially challenged health economies.

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group has shared a list of 24 procedures it is considering for decommissioning with local NHS leaders and GPs.

While decisions are due to be taken later this month for implementation from December, documents seen by HSJ say the “majority” of proposed restrictions are “likely to be enacted in some form”.

10.54am The NHS Confederation European office has issued a briefing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aiming to separate “myth from fact” on what the trade deal will mean for the NHS.

Elisabetta Zanon, director of the European office, said: “Negotiations are still at an early stage and the wording of the trade pact has not yet been agreed, so it is impossible to predict exactly the impact on the NHS. But we are watching developments closely, as we have identified areas that may ring warning bells. We want to make sure that there are no adverse consequences for the NHS, and also that the UK doesn’t miss out on opportunities to raise standards and promote cutting-edge technologies that will benefit patients.

“Nothing in TTIP will stop the four UK countries deciding, through their democratically elected governments, how to run their own health systems. But the UK can press for certain kinds of services, such as publicly funded health services, to be protected from the scope of the trade pact. The precise wording of the final TTIP agreement will be critical in determining the extent to which NHS services may be affected.” 

10.44am Karen Torley of Marie Curie has written for HSJ on how a partnership between local providers in Durham and Darlington, the first of its kind in the North East, supported palliative care at home.

The initiative demonstrates how pooled expertise and resources can deliver a seamless model of care that responds to local need, achieves better patient outcomes and reduces unnecessary hospital admissions.

10.27am Putting patients at the heart of care is easier said than done but lessons can be learned from some programmes to help embed service changes, say Suzanne Wood and Adrian Sieff.

10.17am Pathology plays a significant part in almost all patient pathways. But how can healthcare organisations get the greatest benefit from it?

An HSJ survey, in association with Roche, looked at what managers and clinicians think about pathology services and how they could be improved. More than 500 people, from both providers and commissioners, took part in the online survey. Find out the survey revealed here.

9.53am Today marks the launch of the Longitude Prize - a competition with a £10m fund to tackle antibiotic resistance.

Anna Williams, a researcher at Nesta, which is developing the prize, writes that new diagnostic technologies can help improve patient outcomes, support changes to our habits and improve surveillance systems to tackle antibiotic resistance.

7.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

There is a dawning recognition that trying to run harder in the existing model won’t work anymore, argues Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network.

The new programme for the next Parliament acknowledges this and outlines the ways to ensure the NHS is strengthened in the future, he writes in a comment piece for HSJ.